The Natural Friction of Living

mastery mindfulness mission wisdom Sep 08, 2021

Nature’s natural forces. They are all around us. The gravity that keeps us from careening into the stratosphere. The wind that carries the heat and moisture so vital to our climate. The electromagnetic and nuclear powers that bind and maneuver our world on a nearly imperceivable level. We have come to tolerate these actors as a necessary part of our functional lives. 


We accept this truth, even though their existence often presents us with inconvenience, challenges, and even tragedy. They are the natural friction of life and they are absolute. 


If we acknowledge the influence of nature’s forces as inevitable and necessary, why do we struggle to accept that friction, resistance, and adversity are equally essential to happiness?


It’s a reasonable question.  We’re quick to rationalize, “The garden can really use the rain” as we sprint to our car while getting wet.  But do we have the same attitude when we have a disagreement with a friend, relative, colleague or boss?  Not typically.  In fact, many people avoid tough decisions, actions, and conversations altogether to prevent these essential frictions from happening.  We all know that eventually, the tension associated with these dynamics will demand a release. 


When it all comes to the surface, it’s rarely controlled, productive or on your terms.  Moreover, it’s less likely to serve you and the lives of the people you encounter.  Living Every Minute means mastering the various disciplines of our lives to work in our favor and to the benefit of those around us.  To master the natural friction of living, we must accept the following statement as doctrine:


Interpersonal, occupational, and societal friction is a fundamental and necessary part of the human experience.  It is a catalyst for innovation.  It will always be a constant in our lives.  Like the weather and gravity, it is absolute.


Accepting this as fact provides you a key to the door of happiness.


In our earlier example, perhaps we find contentment in the rain because we understand its’ purpose.  It is feeding our garden, which in turn nourishes us.  This relationship is mutually beneficial, even when you get wet.  What if we took this approach to the disagreements or adversities we face in our daily lives? 


Here are some self-analysis questions you can use today, to guide you on the path to understanding the healthy role adversity plays in your life.


1. How does this adversity or discomfort directly or indirectly serve me in my life? 


2. What can I learn about my behavior patterns by considering the adversities in my life?


3. What tools or education can I pursue to meet the challenges presented by my functional or social environment?


4. How will my life benefit from accepting these discomforts, adversities, and tragedies as absolute and then seeking the wisdom in a resolution?


5. What one thing can I do today to better my life because of this understanding of the relationship between adversity, growth and happiness?


These questions are just examples of the dialogue we all should have with ourselves.  Try it at the beginning of your day, and you may find your efforts throughout the day are more productive and that you meet drama head on with more patience and understanding.  Conversely, try it at the end of the day and you may find that your sleep has fewer mental and emotional burdens and a whole lot more gratitude circling in your head.


Or try both as mental bookends to your day.  Either way, you can’t lose.


Living Every Minute,

Billy Creutz

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